The Chadds Ford Township Zoning Hearing Board granted variances to Henderson-Chadds Ford Associates for the construction of a third building for Endo Pharmaceuticals.

The building is planned for Endo Drive and Brandywine Drive in the Painters Crossing Office Campus across from the AMC Theater in Painters Crossing Shopping Center, and between the current Endo I building and the site of the future Calvary Chapel, also on Brandywine Drive.

Variances were granted for a reduction in the number of parking spaces, the width of a portion of a drive aisle and from the 50-foot riparian buffer requirement.

A riparian buffer is a grassy area surrounding a stream. It provides habitat for wildlife and acts to filter stormwater and recharge groundwater.

As part of an overall stormwater management plan, this buffer was a major issue for township supervisors when the land use plan was up for their approval.

The full 50-foot buffer could not be met because of the shape of the property, and the applicant offered a plan that, on average, met half the requirement.

Supervisors wanted the applicant to meet more of the buffer, suggesting it take some space from the parking area. The applicant complied, but by doing so it then needed a zoning variance for the number of parking spaces.

The original proposal called for 195 parking spaces. The new number is 171, and 85.7 percent of the buffer requirement is met.

Testifying for the applicant was township Supervisors' Vice Chairman George Thorpe.

Thorpe told the zoning board that the compromises were agreeable to the supervisors because they keep as much of the buffer as possible and that will help reduce the potential of flooding of Harvey Run at Ring Road in heavy storms.

"Our objective was to have the water held there [at the building site,] said Thorpe."

He added that the buffer was more important than the parking because there is adequate overflow parking at the theater, if needed, since there are fewer movie patrons during weekdays.

The zoning board also approved a variance request for a narrower drive aisle in the parking area of the new building. Township code calls for drive aisles 24 feet wide, but a portion of the proposed aisle narrows to 18 feet.

In granting the variances, the board added several conditions. The applicant must install a sign advising drivers that the drive aisle narrows, and to construct a footbridge across the wetlands area so that employees can walk between the new building and Endo I where the company cafeteria is located.

Mark Eisenhardt, from Henderson, said the footbridge needs approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, but that he would pursue that approval. The alternative, he said, would be to build a sidewalk around the wetlands.

Eisenhardt anticipated construction of the three-story, 48,600 square foot building would begin late this year. It will be used for Endo's marketing department.

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